I always enjoyed working with Ray. He had a talent to deliver his commentary in a personable chatty way, just as if the tram passengers were his mates. Such an approach is assured to work very well. While a Trammie, Ray also qualified for his P Licence to occasionally drive the Welcome Aboard Grand Tour. This has worked well for him in recent months.
In addition to driving for the re-started Grand Tour, he has been seconded to City Line Tours, mostly driving the Hanmer Connection service. He enjoys the work, sometimes driving two return trips a day from Christchurch. “Hanmer is such a lovely alpine village,” he tells me.
Some days he drops off and picks up adventure-minded travellers at the Welcome Aboard Thrillseekers attraction located near the Waiau River Ferry Bridge. Ray is also known for his harmonica playing, performing at local gigs with a small band. The band is off to the Dunedin Art Festival in October. With his partner Ann, he has enjoyed a trip to Cuba, revelling in the local culture. As with his Trammie colleagues, he has plenty to fill his time. By chance I caught up with him in Rolleston Avenue when he was near the end of a Grand Tour.
I asked if he is keen to get back working on the trams.
“You bet,” he tells me. “I enjoyed the trams more than any other job.”